MarketForce Partners With Cellulant To Expand In Five New Markets Across Africa As It Runs To Cover The Continent – TechCrunch
MarketForce, a Kenyan B2B retail and financial services distribution start-up, has expanded into five additional markets across Africa to develop RejaReja – its retailer “super app” that allows informal traders to order. and pay inventory digitally, accept payments for utility bills, and access financing for their businesses.
The startup today announced the entry of RejaReja, the B2B retail market, into Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, after successful pilot programs, around two months after growing beyond the Kenya by launching into Nigeria.
MarketForce has partnered with Cellulant, a pan-African payments company that enables local and international merchants to accept âlocally relevant and alternativeâ payment methods from their customers, to expand into these new markets.
âWe are working with Cellulant to open up new markets, and the reason is that they are already present in those markets and have partnerships with banks and billers. This will ensure that we focus on acquiring new merchants, âMarketForce co-founder and CEO Tesh Mbaabu told Techrunch.
Cellulant has partnerships with 46 mobile money operators in Africa, 120 banks and serves 35 African countries with a physical presence in 18, according to the payment company. RejaReja is set to harness Cellulant’s coverage to expand across the continent.
âWe have been piloting this partnership for six months and are pleased to announce the plan to expand the successful relationship we have built with MarketForce in Kenyaâ¦ This collaboration will make our digital financial services accessible to millions of Africans, with the aim of dramatically strengthen financial inclusion and merchant incomes in sub-Saharan Africa, âsaid David Waithaka, Commercial Director of Cellulant.
Mbaabu said they aim to increase the number of their RejaReja merchants tenfold to 1 million by the end of next year. RejaReja has grown rapidly since its launch in December 2020 with over 87,000 orders placed through the platform to date for an average cart value of $ 151. It is expected to register $ 60 million in annualized trading volume by the end of the month.
âIn November, we reached 100,000 traders in Kenya and Nigeria and that number is growing quite rapidly. Currently, we are increasing by 40% month to month. It shows how solid our service is, âMbaabu said.
âThe growth is because traders see value, it is a vote of confidence in our platform from traders. And many of them are using the technology for their businesses for the first time, âsaid Mbaabu, who co-founded MarketForce with Mesongo Sibut in 2018 as a SaaS product for formal markets. Active users of the service include Unilever, Pepsi, Safaricom and CocaCola. MarketForce recently raised $ 2 million in seed funding.
The startup’s plan for RejaReja is to have a presence in all sub-Saharan African markets for the foreseeable future by creating an all-inclusive platform for informal traders, who sell a huge chunk of fast-moving consumer goods ( FMCG) in Africa. . In sub-Saharan Africa, around 80% of household retail sales are delivered through informal retailers, but these stores face a number of challenges such as stockouts, income instability and funding that hamper the growth of their businesses.
MarketForce, through RejaReja, provides solutions to these challenges by ensuring the delivery of goods the next day and using their data to develop the credit profiles needed to secure the loans. The startup has partnered with Pezesha – a digital financial market platform – to provide loans to its traders.
Mbaabu said: “We see RejaReja being the largest retail distribution network in sub-Saharan Africa.”
“The goal is to enable all these merchants to increase their income and profits in the digital age, to access inventory, to act as special agents for various financial services and to generate additional income as a result. We can also provide working capital loans.